CROMWELL--On Monday, the opening ceremony for the Travelers Championship was held, kicking off the week-long event.
State and tournament officials were on hand to discuss the tournament, the players, and, most importantly, what the tournament does for the community. Every year a charity is picked for proceeds to be donated to, and this year the primary beneficiary is the ALS Clinic at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain.
ALS is an important cause for the tournament's sponsor, Travelers Insurance, whose former CEO Jay Fishman was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago and stepped down from his day-to-day position last year. He is still chairman of the board, and continues to participate in the company and the tournament, where he will act this year as co-chair with Brian Savo, who also has ALS.
"For us to have the opportunity to do this, to be able to partner with the PGA tour with players with the community to do this is just an extraordinary opportunity," Fishman said on Monday. Just weeks ago Fishman said he's in the "later innings" of battling Lou Gehrig's disease, but still wants to make a difference for others.
Savo added, "We will beat this disease. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow but we will help the people who may be after me and after Jay. But we will make a difference and we will help people."
Meanwhile, Nathan Grube, the tournament director, said, "This is real, real stuff that we're doing with this tournament. Thank you for being here."
As of mid-July, the tournament had already raised an additional $1 million for ALS research by selling tables to a dinner featuring golfing legend Tom Watson, whose longtime caddy, Bruce Edwards, died of the disease. That event will be held Friday, August 5.
Also on Monday, Operation Home-Front volunteers packed backpacks filled with school supplies to give to 200 military families from Groton.
With additional reporting from the Associated Press.